Which German e-commerce brand has the fastest website?
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Especially in retail with a multitude of competitive offerings, the battle for customers is particularly hard. Primarily peak trading periods, such as Black Friday or the Christmas season, the competition gets more and more fierce. Therefore leading retail companies do everything they can to keep their market share and continuously expand their business.

A high customer focus is the key to success, and you should ensure that all the channels by which you engage with the customer should be functioning. In most cases temporal factors lead customers away from the local retail store and onto the Web. That’s one of the reasons why online customers are very discriminating. Their requirements in terms of speed and availability when shopping online are particularly high, regardless if the user starts their shopping experience from the desktop PC via a mobile device or via an app.

High availability is essential  

In order to ensure a growing conversion rate and new customers, companies must assure that their online presence can cope with increasing traffic. An essential quality requirement from the customer’s perspective is a consistently high availability of the website, which should be 99 to 100 percent. Equally important is the response time i.e the time it takes until the content is fully displayed on a web page. Studies show that web users are more likely to click away and use competitive offerings if the response time is longer than five seconds. In addition to a stylish design and good usability, online retailers should pay attention to the performance of their website regularly.
Compuware APM, a leading provider of application performance management solutions, regularly publishes benchmarks for various industries offering granular analysis into the performance of websites. The analysis looks at the response time, availability and consistency of websites and mobile sites from Backbone and Last Mile. Backbone is measured from the browsers Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. The results of the overall ranking includes all measurements over a period of time. In the current retail benchmark for Germany the websites of five online shops were monitored in more detail: Apple, brands4friends, getgoods.de, Thomann and Zalando.

Thomann comes out on top

Good news for online shoppers of musical instruments shop Thomann, who hits first place in the current ranking. The website loads in less than two seconds and is available more than 99 percent of the time. The reasons for this are, a simply designed website with a very small size of around 280 kilobytes, the inclusion of just few objects and the site content is delivered via five separate hosts. With the exception of an analytics tool, no 3rd party services are involved. 

In an impressive 2nd place is brands4friends. Their homepage is built with a very economical design because objects were summarized and also only five servers are involved. However, even the background image consumes 500 kilobytes of a total page size of 850 kilobytes, and despite the use of CDNs for static and large objects, the website runs slower. 

The Apple website comes in 4th place. Even though the page is immediately visible for the user, the loading process is still not complete. Here the load process is influenced by the delivery of 140 objects, the page size of around one megabyte, as well the analytics tools and A/B testing the response time of users.

  1. Thomann
  2. Brands-4-Friends
  3. H&M DE
  4. Apple DE
  5. QVC
  6. Getgoods
  7. Esprit 
  8. Notebooksbilliger
  9. Conrad
  10. Neckermann

Ensure you get guarantees from external providers

In 8th place is getgoods.de and despite the relatively „normal“ size of the website at around 890 kilobytes there is a delay of 1.5 seconds caused when generating the page. Some of the 125 objects are delivered by external servers. In such cases, the shop owner should ensure that external providers guarantee an optimal response time and availability. 

Although Zalando ranked number 22 and is in the midfield, but it shows in a TÜV assessment looking specifically at customer satisfaction they got a score of 1.7. Due to a much larger product offering, the involvement of many 3rd party providers and with a page size of 1.5 megabytes, the response time is partially unsatisfactory. But due to consistently high availability of 99 to 100 percent this does not have a negative impact on the user.

In summary there are so many different factors that are responsible for the performance of a website and have an impact on customer satisfaction. The response time, availability and consistency are essential criteria and should be monitored from the perspective of end-users and online shoppers. In the case of integration of 3rd party services it must be ensured that Service Level Agreements (SLA) areindeed being met.

Modern Application Performance Management (APM) tools can include third-party components in continuous monitoring and actively track performance peaks. This means that errors can be traced and problems resolved within the application delivery chain, before the end-users will be affected. Based on a deep-dive analysis of the APM solution data, businesses and IT can derive baseline trends, enabling them to plan better and work together more effectively. Always with the objective to provide their online customers with a consistently good shopping experience even during peak shopping seasons.


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